A Pharmacists' Guide to the 2020 Elections

The first step toward achieving goals like provider recognition and expanded patient care roles is to elect members of Congress who will support your role in patient care and champion the issues that affect your practice. Your participation in the 2020 elections can help ensure that pharmacists play critical patient care roles. Before you head to the polls, make sure that you've taken these essential steps: 


  • Check your polling location and hours: Check with your Board of Elections to verify where you should go and when you can vote. Remember, if you are in line when the polls close, you are still allowed to vote.
  • Understand your options: Request an absentee ballot if you are unable to vote in person. All states allow voters who meet certain conditions like illness or injury, travel, or enrollment at an out-of-state college or other educational programs. Absentee ballots or vote-by-mail are great solutions for pharmacy students and residents.
  • Vote early (but not often.) Many states allow for early voting before the primary or general election date. Take advantage of this opportunity to avoid long lines and waits at your polling place.
  • Know what's on the ballot – You may be voting to fill elected offices or for laws that will impact your community, so it is important to be informed about the key issues. Be sure to research candidates and issues in your local papers or on voter information web sites like Ballotpedia.
  • Encourage your neighbors, colleagues, and friends to exercise their civic duty. Our system works best when everyone participates.

How to Choose a Candidate

Ideally, the candidates that you support will match your views on a variety of issues. You can identify potential candidates through involvement in your local political party or community groups. To find out if a candidate is "pharmacy-friendly" you should:

  • Read campaign literature or attend campaign events. Be sure to investigate the candidate's positions on healthcare issues that affect your practice, including patient and medication safety, drug shortages, reimbursement, and pharmacists' recognition as healthcare providers. Asking these questions is especially important when one or more of the candidates have never held public office. 
  • Review the types of legislation that the candidate has supported in the past. Legislators who introduce or cosponsor bills that deal with drug shortages, workforce issues, or new delivery models are likely to be supportive of expanded patient care roles for pharmacists.
  • Check to see if the candidate serves on a healthcare-related committee. ASHP works closely with members of Congress assigned to these committees.
  • Follow ASHP's advocacy activity to learn more about our issues and the legislators who support our efforts. 

Who Does ASHP Support?

ASHP does not formally endorse candidates. We work closely with members of Congress serve on committees that address healthcare issues.


Volunteering on a Campaign

Now that you've identified a candidate to support, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get them elected! Volunteering during a candidate's election or reelection campaign is an excellent first step to gaining access to and building credibility with elected officials and their staff.

Getting Started:

  • Be sure that you can make a time commitment to the campaign. Prepare to devote several hours a week.
  • Contact the campaign's volunteer coordinator to express an interest in working on the campaign. Be sure to emphasize your healthcare expertise and offer yourself as a resource.
  • Don't be discouraged if the campaign doesn't capitalize on your expertise right away. A candidate's closest advisors are often long-time friends and confidantes. You can build credibility by working where you are needed and taking advantage of opportunities to contribute a perspective that others may have missed.

What to Expect

There is a lot of work to be done during a campaign. Campaign volunteers often:

  • Participate in phone banks to encourage support for the candidate
  • Deliver lawn signs
  • Staff election polling places
  • Distribute campaign materials at election polling places
  • Research issues
  • Host campaign or fundraising events
  • Attend campaign events with the candidate
  • Help with administrative tasks